U.S. Senator Calls For Mayor Ted Wheeler’s Resignation Over His Handling of ICE Protests

The senator's resolution condemns Wheeler for refusing to intervene when "a mob of leftwing activists recently surrounded an ICE office."

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler goes for a swim in the Willamette River in early July. (Thomas Teal)

A U.S. Senator formally called for the resignation of Mayor Ted Wheeler while asking his fellow federal lawmakers to vote for a Congressional resolution to support U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-Louisiana) introduced the resolution Tuesday morning, in direct response to the controversy surrounding Wheeler's attempts to keep Portland police from becoming entangled in a dispute between protesters and federal officials outside of the local ICE building.

The call for Wheeler to step down comes the day after President Donald Trump publicly berated him in a speech honoring border patrol agents.

The senator's resolution condemns Wheeler for refusing to intervene when "a mob of leftwing activists recently surrounded an ICE office in southwest Portland, Oregon, trapping ICE employees inside the building."

The resolution quotes Portland Police Association president Daryl Turner, who said Wheeler "failed miserably" in regulating the 39-day long protest outside the federal building on Southwest Macadam Avenue. It also quotes a cease-and-desist letter the national ICE union sent to Wheeler last month, alleging the mayor's policy of keeping local police away from the protest "created a zone of terror and lawlessness."

Portland police eventually swept the camp on July 25, after most of the protesters had voluntarily left. Police chief Danielle Outlaw claimed credit for the decision to clear the protest in a radio interview last week.

Cassidy's resolution also condemns statements made by politicians outside Portland. It criticizes two candidates running for office in New York for inflammatory statements they made about ICE.

It denounces Cynthia Nixon, who is running for governor of New York, for calling the federal immigration agency a "terrorist organization" and U.S. House candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who has called to abolish ICE.

Wheeler's inclusion among these favorite scapegoats for Republican ire suggests the Portland mayor, usually seen as a moderate, has achieved national notoriety as a leftist—at least on this issue.

Willamette Week’s reporting has concrete impacts that change laws, force action from civic leaders, and drive compromised politicians from public office. Support WW's journalism today.